PREMIERING ON COPY:
A Biblical Angel, an Emotional Hangover
Alex Bush and Laura Galindo write poetry in black and white for the “HANGOVER” music video
By BROOKE METAYER
Watch the music video here.
Butterflies in a sunflower field become a cement wall as singer-songwriter Laura Galindo catches the frame on a skateboard, pulling the camera’s gaze with her as she glides toward the shores of Rockaway Beach.
The black-and-white music video accompanying Galindo’s song “Hangover” strips away extravagant, prescriptive metaphors and leaves the audience to find their own meaning in the bare images. Here, a pile of rocks can become a watershed, a fingertip tracing a blade of grass can become an odyssey, and a sea shell can become an angel.
The biblical story of Jacob wrestling with the angel was present in Galindo’s mind when developing the concept for the music video with the director and editor Alex Bush. An audience’s ability to derive their own meaning from the text appealed to her—it evoked the same patience, curiosity, and instinctual emotionality encased in the music. “The story [of Jacob wrestling with the angel] is about someone who has gone on a very long journey for love and on his return home, he meets an angel, and they wrestle through the night together. At the end of that experience, he has a new name and moves into the next stage in his life,” said Bush. “The story doesn’t have set values, so what someone thinks it means is reflective of the person, which is a cool lens to look at a breakup through. It’s very true to the song.”
Galindo and Bush first got together to develop the project during The Neighborhood Film Festival, a collective started in 2022 by Bush, Galindo, and a group of their peers. Searching for structure and community post-college, the festival emerged as a place where multidisciplinary artists in Brooklyn could collaborate to skill and resource share. Galindo affectionately notes that she attributes the entire project to this festival and the immense support and inspiration from the people involved.
The idea of using the biblical source material to visualize her song came together on the first day of the program. From there, it was a question of how to distill the concept to its essential elements with the resources they had. The video was shot on Rockaway Beach over the course of one day. Five additional artists were brought onto the production: cinematographer Nicholas Kalajdzic, fight choreographer Tate Rehklau, costume designer Hannah Bird, production assistant E.B. Hinnant, and angel Patrick Yeboah. The crew brought fabric to fashion an angel costume, a handheld Alexa Mini, and a Home Depot mirror for lighting. The pared-down production was enough to tell the story with a few key references. Drawing from the French New Wave cinema of the 1950s, the filmmaking team used close-ups of faces, jump cuts, and on-location shooting to tell the story.
They opted to not use film cameras due to resource restrictions but emulated film’s tactile quality through the use of black-and-white video. On the choice to eliminate color in the image, Bush says: “Black and white gave us stylistic control that would make the viewer trust that what they are watching was only what mattered.”
“Hangover” is inspired by Galindo’s own experiences, as she says much of her work is. It speaks from the perspective of a character whose relationship has passed its peak. “The song reminds me about times I had wanted to hold onto the crazy highs of loving someone and being enveloped in them but then things come crashing down…The hangover after that kind of intense and sweeping love,” said Galindo.
The four-minute-twelve-second project holds nuance without distraction, acting as a container for the music to live far away from the value judgments of everyday life. “The song is looking to fully understand the situation and looking to claim agency, but it is not repenting. It is not avoiding. It is not defining. It’s just sitting in the difficulty of it,” described Bush. “The aim with the video was to be so straightforward with the imagery that the poetic brain can fire fully and you’re not distracted by any flares or drama telling you how to feel.”
Not only a singer and songwriter but a playwright as well, Galindo wrote the song as a part of a musical, titled I Saw Them, which she was developing during a two-year residency with Ars Nova’s Makers Lab. The morning Galindo was supposed to begin workshopping the musical with a team of performers on stage, she had still yet to write a song to fill the “tender moment” placeholder she had left in the script.
“The rehearsal started at 11 AM and I woke up at 8 AM, so from 8:30 to 9:30, I wrote this song really fast before leaving the house to make it to rehearsal,” Galindo said. This quick turnaround left no room for second-guessing or outside meddling—resulting in an untainted musical expression that Galindo describes as “instinctual.”
Galindo as a singer and songwriter has a unique ability to encompass biblical scale emotionality with the coy, raspy vocals of a modern Brooklyn woman. Her music is evocative of the feeling of laying on a bedroom floor with your best friend at 2 AM, talking about love and purpose with the raw inquisitiveness of someone too tired to hold back.
Sonically, Galindo’s work lands somewhere between Amy Winehouse and Daft Punk. “Amy Winehouse has this sort of open heart forthright earnestness while still being a little tongue and cheek and a little coy,” said Galindo as she describes her connection to the late artists. She continues: “But I also like lush production, I like making people dance and experimenting with genre, which is all something Daft Punk is known for. Even if our songs don’t sound like robot rock, we’re always trying to evoke that fun feeling.”
Galindo can be found performing around New York City with her band including Henry Trinder, Sam Revaz, Isaiah Graham Hazzard, and Julián Briones. In 2021, Galindo and her band released an alt-pop EP titled In Front Of Your TV (produced with Greg Tock), and in 2022, she delivered the intimate Amateurs.
In their music video work, Bush has the discipline and selective eye as an editor and director to translate the core feeling of a piece of music into an image. Through close artistic collaboration and also close friendships with the musicians they work with, Bush’s films showcase the humanity in their subjects. Prior to “Hangover,” they debuted a music video to accompany singer-songwriter Mia Pak’s “2 Years”—a song with themes of unburdening and longing that called for grand wide shots of open oceans and lush forests. In “Hangover,” Bush again works with a beach setting and a breakup song, but this time emulates a different stage in the grieving of a relationship.
It’s each of these artists’ experiences, attention to detail, and intuitive restraint that makes a simple project like “Hangover” so affecting. Whatever the audience is wrestling with in their own reality, whether it's changing relationships or biblical theology, Galindo’s patient voice against an unmoving coastline invites them to find the poetry in the uncertainty.
“Promise me that when all this is over, that you will think of me as what we were,” sings Galindo.